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Pritchard eyes Warriors chance

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LONDON — Charlton Athletic midfielder Bradley Pritchard says he is keen to play for the Warriors and help Zimbabwe qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations and Fifa World Cup finals.

Charlton currently top the English League One table and are favourites for automatic promotion to the Championship from League One next season, but Pritchard says he would be equally delighted to get a chance with the Warriors.

“I would really like to be involved,” the 26-year-old told NewZimbabwe.com on Monday. “I am Zimbabwean and I just want to represent my country and help us qualify for the next Nations Cup and Fifa World Cup finals.”

Pritchard was snapped up by Charlton coach, Chris Powell just before the start of the current season.

Said Powell of the midfielder: “He is a good midfielder with a good use of the ball, but what I like about him is that he is very energetic and technically aware.

“Also he has that knack, which doesn’t happen a lot with players, of arriving in the box unnoticed, and that’s why he got into double figures last year from midfield.

“People may say it was at Conference level, but in my eyes that’s the fifth league. So he’s jumped up a couple of levels and we feel he has the right attitude to progress and to carry on learning his trade with us.”

Having moved to England aged 10, Pritchard said he was almost an accidental footballer, after choosing to concentrate on his education and only played the game as a pastime. A graduate of Loughborough University and holder of a Master’s degree in sport science, Pritchard said he only started playing football on a part-time basis while at university in order to “put some fuel in my car”.

“My main focus was education and I might even have ended up playing hockey instead. I only started playing football while at university just to raise some money,” he said. “After completing my studies in 2010, I started working at Charlton and Watford (football clubs) doing performance analysis while also playing for a club called Hayes & Yeading United in the Blue Square Bet Premier.”

He scored 14 goals for the Blue Square Premier team, in the process helping seal the club’s survival in the top tier of non-league football. The goals attracted the attention of a number of coaches, among them the Charlton boss.

“Bradley is a player we watched quite a bit in the second half of last season,” Powell said. “He scored a number of goals from midfield, which is always a good sign, and he came in and spent some time training with the squad and played in a reserve game.” —NewZimbabwe.com

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